Sunday, May 24, 2009

Changing towns, changing countries, changing communities

I miss Brooklyn. I miss community...

Loving France
I'm so fortunate to live in France. It seems that all my life has led up to me leaving The United States for Europe. I love the cafés, the charming towns, the language, the literature, université, the small cars, the culture...of course some of the frummies far and wide here would say that I am only attracted to the goyishe part of France, the cafés I should give up, why should I 'hang out' there...since when is sitting with a friend, drinking a coffee 'haning out?'

Connection to France
I hold very dear to me the french language and my time spent here. A part of me doesn't want to let go, I want to always be able to come back here whenever I feel the need. I will always need some connection with this country and the language, I'd never feel complete without it.

A part of me was in search of my roots but they certainly do not lie in France...I recovered those in Brooklyn. Since living there I have moved back to France, with the plans of staying here forever--that is until I started feeling rather isolated.

Challenging religiousness
I live in a little town not far from the university. In a way I prefer it, that way I do not have a community watching my every move. There is a jewish 'black hatter/sfardi' community about an hour from here that I do spend much time in...yet though I might be religious I am in no way close-minded, in fact I have had to bite my tongue on many issues with religious people there. (As usual, it wasn't any different in Brooklyn) At some point I just wonder when I'll be comfortable saying 'this is who i am, this is what I think' and we can agree to disagree, but after I always regret saying what I feel: whether it be about children or university...etc so many topics...

One woman asked me what I'd do with my degree once I got my masters, I said I'd like to teach at university. Her responce was nothing less than a complete rejection: quel horreur (what horror, aka what a terrible job, teaching goyim, in that goyishe environment.)

What do you say to that ...after being in university for 7 years, loving every second of it, dedicating years to it, and getting fulfillment out of it?

My feelings were hurt, yet I suppose I was challenging her religiousness...

Wishing to be apart
Sad part is I want to be apart of a jewish community, I am alone here. I do not have one frum friend. Keeping kosher is a real challenge. It is starting to wear me down. There is a large muslim community here, I see the muslim women walking together, dressed alike, complete with 'jelaba' and 'hijab' and I envy them, I wish I had a community, friends and support.

I refuse to give up, of course.
I have to make a change. Marriage would be a good start. Changing towns would be too. Yet I don't think I could live in that jewish community one hour from here. I just don't like it there. I think I'd be bored out of my mind. Going for shabbos is fine, living there fulltime is something else.

I feel that at some point for me to rejoin a community, that I would have to close off my mind to a certain extent. I hate feeling in conflict with what I think and believe and how others impose their beliefs on me. The issue always being 'you can't go there or do or say that, if people find out you won't get a shidduch- we believe like this...' Though my shidduch proposals have been rather lousy if you ask me.

Something here is missing.
Well, nothing compares to Brooklyn. Eventhough I am sure the mentality is much more closed there on certain issues, at least when I lived there I was surrounded by caring wonderful people. I had support. I felt connected to the culture, to the language (yiddish). I wasnt alone, I was proud of walking down the street and everyone knowing 'she is chassidish.' I lived in one of the most amazing cities, with the big apple 2 dollars away. The possibilities felt endless. Funny I should say that, when my afflilation was with none other than Satmar, some of my friends dared not even enter Manhattan for fear of seeing 'untznious' things.

Is it really all or nothing?
I guess that what I am writing here is rather conflicting. I want a community yet at the same time, I fear not being able to live in one. I want to go back to my chassidishe friends, I'd like to find a chassidishe husband, yet I love France eventhough I am so alone...

Sadly, I suppose my core is just not chassidish or even litvak or even traditional orthodox at this point: I want to teach at university. Can't I do that at be chassidish? Why can't it be done? Before I do that, I have to get my doctorate...

Is it really all or nothing?

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